Sunday, 7 September 2014

Cycling through Clouds in Central Asia: Pamir at Last! Today: 60 km; Total: 793 km

May 18, 2014

Feeling very tired, we left the lodge at 8: 30. With no energy in our legs, we kept riding on a very steep road. Fausto had a lot of problems with his panniers. At one point, his rear pannier fell off the bike! So strange! We were not having a good morning at all.

We were registered by the first checkpoint at the beginning of Pamir Highway. Then we went to a small grocery shop and the only edible thing we could find was a loaf of bread and a Fanta (soft drink). There were no restaurants or cafes anywhere. The bread and Fanta tasted OK (I remembered that Coca Cola and bread was the only thing many poor construction workers in Tehran could afford to have on their lunch break). Feeling hungry, we stopped at another shop to get some biscuits and yoghurt. The guy then brought us some bread from home for free. From then, the good Karma started--people on the way being Tajik again and offering us tea by showing their mouths and their houses.

It was about two o'clock when an old lady gestured "tea" to me. I asked her if she had some vegetables to spare for our dinner. She had been talking to her friend when I asked her. She said goodbye to her friend and went to her house to bring me some veggies. Fausto and I were waiting outside her house when two young girls came out to invite us in. We first didn't want to, but then we decided to experience a Tajik house.

They took us inside the building, into the living room. Their mother and the girls waited at us with such hospitality I had never seen before; they brought us anything they had: Tea, food, butter, cookies, etc! I was speechless. I was thinking about my neighbour who would sue me if I stepped on his grass. What has modernity done to us? The concept of "my property" in Canada or in any modern society is destroying our humanity.

For about an hour, we were waited at with tea and food. And who were we? Total strangers! Some guys on their bikes who would never be seen again.  

We said goodbye to the family with a plastic bag full of carrots and onions. We kept riding in beautiful mountains on a relatively good road, gaining altitude little by little. At the end, at 5:30, we were at 3000 meters above the sea level, 1000 meters more than Khorough.

We are now camping in a beautiful spot surrounded by snow-covered mountains. We had dinner: boiled chopped carrots, onions, and potatoes.

My Achilles' tendon was not hurting as much today. I guess the pain is very much related to the condition of the road. 

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